Interview with quantum cryptologist Dr. Arpita Maitra.

It was the year of 2016. Having recently started my master’s in pure mathematics (algebra, geometry and number theory), I was missing the natural sciences, reading up and trying to understand things that explained natural phenomena. Of course I love pure mathematics, but having spent hours in the lab and planetarium during my bachelor’s in physics, chemistry and mathematics, there was some nostalgia when it came to physics and chemistry.

It was no surprise that when the list of topics for our seminar on lattice based cryptography was announced, I pounced on the topic of Quantum cryptography. I knew absolutely nothing about it, but the idea of talking about atoms and electrons again excited me.

The post quantum world seems like a dream right now, factorization of large numbers, which is a tough problem for the classical computers, will be performed easily by quantum computers (Peter Shor’s algorithm). The major difference between classical and quantum computers is the way information can be stored. Classical computers are based on transistors, where the smallest unit of information is a bit, it can either be a zero or a one, like a switch: on or off. 

In the quantum world, we can exploit the laws of quantum mechanics. The smallest unit of information is not only zero and one, but also some states in between zero and one. These are known as qbits (quantum bits). Physically, the spin of an electron in an atom or the polarization of light represent these bits, where horizontally polarized light could be taken to be zero, vertically polarized light could be taken to be one, and a linear combination of these two states contribute to the in between states.

Interview with Dr. Arpita Maitra:-
This year, I attended Indocrypt 2019 held at Hyderabad, India. It was jointly organized by C.R.Rao AIMSC and University of Hyderabad. Here, I had the opportunity to attend two talks delivered by Dr. Arpita Maitra, assistant professor at the C.R.Rao AIMSC institute. She is a quantum cryptologist. I was inspired by the way she delivered her talks. With the intention of bringing more female scientists/ researchers into light, so that we have more female role models to look up to, I asked Dr. Maitra if she would kindly give an interview for Amicable scientists.

I hope you enjoy the video (subtitles recommended).

Here’s a link to her slides for the talk she gave at Indocrypt 2019. https://www.isical.ac.in/~indocrypt2019/res/slides/S9_Talk3_Arpita.pdf

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